NL6213:The Block in Use

Last spring I purchased this pattern:

It was cute; summery; feminine and I’m afraid, a bit trendy. Being trendy I knew I needed to use it this year. It could be dated by now, late summer. But I delayed. I couldn’t get my TNT’s to fit me how was I going to fit this style?  The shapes were different. The shoulder seemed thrown to side. Center front , back and side angled sharply.  Waist was marked really low about where I expected the hip but there were no gathering instructions below the neck. How was the waist going to end up at the waist? I didn’t know. Couldn’t see where to make my BWL and even if I needed an NSA (sometimes I don’t).  Finally though I fit the basic block 1201 and then fit the knit T-shirt (5215) which I use as my sloper for knits. It was the Craftsy Course One Pattern Many Looks: Blouses that gave me the keys. Adding Fullness at least partially explained the shaping at center back, front and side seams. Rotating the bust dart explained the position of the shoulder.  I used my block to carefully compare ease and length at critical points.  I walked the armscyes. Finally I chose a size 12 for shoulder and neck but a 14 for side seams and armscyes. I trimmed away the excess tissue and then trimmed the shoulder to the same angle as my sloper. I decided to ignore the waist marking on NL6213.  The neckline is indeed a V Neck to which the dart has been rotated and then spread even further to gain the needed length for gathering.

My fabric practically chose itself.  I keep wanting to call it ‘Buttermilk’.  I purchased it at a Wisconsin garage sale 14 years ago. The local fabric store had closed years earlier so the fabric has to be at least 18-20 years old. It is man-made. Burns quickly. So quickly it’s like melting except there is flame.  It has a slight crinkle everywhere which gives it the slightest bit of stretch. Not measurable stretch but enough to be comfortable in a closely cut garment. Still as I remember this type fabric was hot to wear.

I cut my fabric; serged the center front and center back seams then worked on finishing the neck. Ugh! Horrible mistake. The instructions said to work with each half of the front separately. The neckline would have been so much easier had I noted the word “separately’. But it was serged. I hate ripping serged seams.  The neck was a little fiddly. Definitely don’t like how they did the loop. The end is sewn across and up the side about 5”.  Turned out and then the loop is folded up and hand stitched into place. I followed instructions but I can think of 3 or 4 ways to better make that loop. I like to make things as flat as possible when finished. This does create bulk. I avoid hand stitching because it is not as secure as machine stitching. Without a doubt, I will need to reinforce the loop stitches later on. Serging the neck edges after the shoulders were serged was not easy. But I wanted that edge finished too.  I basted the side seams together for the first fitting and was relieved. It fit well enough; even the sleeveless armscyes seemed OK.

Of course, it’s not as cute on grandmotherly me as it is on the sweet chick that graces the front of the envelope. Nonetheless, I like the tie front.  I’ll keep the pattern just so I can use that neckline style again.  Unfortunately, the size 14 was not wide enough across the high bust. I don’t think that has even happened to me. I’m assuming that elongated shape when compared to my sloper fooled me into thinking there was enough width. There is across the back.

I definitely judged the waist mark correctly. It fell at my hip. I do think that is a pattern error. Had I chosen to make the 16 or 18 the waist mark would have hit about tunic length.

I think this was a really good use of a sloper. This pattern languished for months because I was unsure of how to proceed.  I had the fabric picked out almost as soon as I brought the pattern home. It was the fitting that bothered me. There is no possibility that a pattern will fit me by using the recommended size. At the very least, I need a BWL.  The sloper gave me confidence. I do believe I spent as much time comparing the sloper to the tissue as I did sewing but it paid off.

Threads published a really good article about using the sloper to check fit. The method described is very different from what I did.  I walked seam lines and compared widths, lengths, curves. Threads divides the sloper, matches with the tissue and then brings it all back together.  It’s an interesting method. Read it here.



3 thoughts on “NL6213:The Block in Use

  1. What are BWL & NSA?
    Although my shoulders on my sloper are narrow, I rarely make the narrow shoulder adjustment on a pattern. I like my shoulders to help balance my hips as many design books say they should. If I narrow the shoulders on a pattern: my hips look larger! I often trace & cut the shoulder area as the pattern suggests not as my sloper suggests. I wear light shoulder pads as needed (usually not needed).
    Your sloper article and Threads article were interesting. I’ll read them both more closely!
    You sew beautifully. IMO you do not need a loop or a tie to draw attention to the front of your body: this pattern with the loop and tie added is not the best look for you.


    1. BWL=Back Waist Length alteration
      NSA= Narrow Shoulder Alteration
      I need both. Without the BWL, pattern waist and hip shaping fall too low on my body and the fabric will be too tight in those areas. Shorten the back waist length so that waist and hip shaping occur where my waist and hips are makes patterns fit beautifully. I need the NSA as well. My shoulder is a full inch narrower than the standard body chart. Additionally, I’m narrow across the upper chest both front and back — a true pear.The NSA shortens the shoulder and removes ease across the upper chest. Without it my garment shoulders droop and my necklines are a mess. They always pooch and gap. Sleeves attached to top without an NSA are uncomfortable. The seam lies in the wrong spot. Sleeves look wonky and feel worse. Not everyone or even every garment needs these alterations. I’ve known women who sew their armscye finishes (sleeves, facings, bindings) just a little deeper. Many don’t even care. It’s OK. I’m not condemning anybody and rarely offer advice unless asked. But this is my personal preference. I’m happier with my garments and my appearance for having done these simple alterations.

      Thanks for compliments and advice. Sometimes I’m not so sure of my decisions. It’s always a relief to have someone who objectively offers help.



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